Elsewhere around the nation there are other laws that have taken effect with the flip of the calendar and we want to ensure you’re aware of them as well. Hairstyle or hair texture is now considered protected under New Jersey anti-discrimination laws after the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act) Act” was signed into law Christmas week by Governor Phil Murphy. The law gained momentum after a video went viral of a NJ high school wrestler facing forfeiting his match if he didn’t cut off his dreadlocks in order to compete in a state sponsored wrestling meet. It provides for fines of up to $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 respectively for the first three violations. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a new wage theft ordinance that contains a number of different provisions from a statewide law that took effect July 1, 2019 became effective on the first of January. The Minneapolis ordinance requires that a city prehire notice be given to all existing employees within the first pay period of 2020 and to all future hires. In addition, it requires employers to give additional notices to employees advising them of sick/safe leave law provisions, leave accrual rates and other additional benefit-related information. And then there’s California of course, which takes it all to a whole new level: the Golden State has banned the use of latex gloves in restaurants beginning January 1 and the state’s new Woman Quota law also took effect on New Year’s Day, notwithstanding a number of pending lawsuits. The so-called Woman’s Quota law provided that by the end of 2019, publicly held companies based in California must have at least one woman on its Board of Directors with that minimum increased to 2 women by the end of 2021 for companies with 5 directors or 3 female directors for those corporations with 6 or more directors. The Secretary of State is empowered to issue fines for non-compliance. As many as six different communities have banned the use of natural gas in new building construction effective in 2020. Also taking effect on January 1 was AB 5, which provides that workers who do not meet the “ABC test” must be classified as employees and not independent contractors and the CA Consumer Privacy Act, which requires businesses to safeguard personal information of customers and others and allows for consumers and the attorney general to sue the business for up to $750 per incident for violations, or for actual damages in the case of a breach.